2020 took its toll on pretty A pair Of corporations, However the Shelby County Fairgrounds survived even with out having A great.
How did it proceed making niceds? Seems the truthfulgrounds primarytain Greater than merely the county truthful.
“A few of it was donations, however we board horses Inside the barns again right here,” Board President Jeff Pruitt said. “We Earn money off that. We now have campers that Are out tright here proper now from Indiana Grand, They typically come Inside The primary of March by way of November and we have campsites for these. That makes us money. We do storage in A few of the barns for the winter, we lease out the Household Arts and Brenson Constructing on weekends for a day. It’s that Sort of factor. That’s what stored us going.”
The grounds are house to 10 barns In a place to housing As a lot as 90 horses, principally thoroughbred and standardbred.
And wright hereas that launched in some money, tenting was The Most very important income for the truthfulgrounds final yr. Pruitt said they noticed An enhance Inside the Quantity of campers Over the previous yr.
“The tenting was An monumentalgie, and that upset some people as a Outcome of they didn’t like [the campers] sitting right here, however you acquiredta do what you do To survive,” Pruitt said.
Lots of these campers are affiliated with Indiana Grand — trainers, jockeys, or Individuals Who’ve horses. He said they decided To not enhance tenting costs To permit them To primarytain aggressive with completely diffelease Shelbyville places.
Now that factors have opened again up, the truthfulgrounds are seeing athletes tenting. A pair weeks in the past, the Parks Departworkment held a softball event at Blue River Memorial Park Ensuing in A pair of campers primarytaining On the truthfulgrounds, Pruitt said.
“Parks Departworkment is having tourneys out right here Inside the ballpark east of the truthfulgrounds, and this final weekend we had 12 campers right here For 3 nights,” Pruitt said. “They liked it right here, They might park campers, stroll to the ball area, women might Exit wright here the midway goes and apply. It was good and quiet for them and it labored out properly.”
Collectively with tenting, the truthful board is working to open the truthfulgrounds up for Quite a Little bit of events. While tright here wasn’t A great final yr, the Shelby County Tourism and Visitors Bureau organized for The huge Blue BBQ event, and that made the grounds some money too.
“We do A lot of factors right here,” Pruitt said. “We’ve tried to open the truthfulgrounds up for Greater than merely the truthful. Tourism has assisted immensely with the [Big Blue BBQ]. We’ve opened it up for the Boy Scouts, we have some factors Inside the againground. So as that will get going.”
Incomes money isn’t even actually the objective — the truthful board simply Desires to Search out methods to convey extra people out to The state of aftruthfuls.
“We’re doing everyfactor We will to get people To return to the truthfulgrounds,” Pruitt said. “I simply talked to [David Finkel], from The Strand, he says he was Proud of what he was seeing out right here as a Outcome of tright here Ought to be one factor Occurring out right here every weekend.”
“It doesn’t Want to be An monumental money maker,” he added. “We make it out to no matter it Have to be.”
Recently, the truthfulgrounds have been a location for A Marriage ceremony, a dinner, and a commencement partworky. And naturally, They actually acquired To primarytain the County Fair this yr. Pruitt said cancelling the truthful in 2020 was Definitely one of many hardest factors he’s ever Desired to do.
“That was Definitely one of many hardest selections We would have appreciated to make as A great board, was to cancel the truthful, however we had A lot of enter,” he said. He consulted with the mightor, well being departworkment, and commissioners Earlier to creating The selection. “We did what everyone else did, and we didn’t have a selection.”
“Tright here have been factors we mightn’t do,” he added. “Tright here have been events we mightn’t lease the buildings out. We had A pair of events however we restricted it to measurement. We did have the BBQ out right here that Tourism did, however we mightn’t do Much extra.”
“Last yr, even with COVID, That they had 49 or 50 teams,” he said. “We nonetheless had horse races final yr, we had six days of horse races out right here, and we have six this yr. Tright here’s three this month, two in July and one in August.”
The truthful board May even be Engaged on a couple tasks To assist make the grounds usable for Greater than merely the truthful and storage, Pruitt said.
A Management Shelby County group acquired here by way of in April To wash up weeds, plant flowers, and paint. Shelbyville Highschool artwork college students even painted a mural on the loos shut to the livestock building.
“It was a good factor,” Pruitt said. “It acquired some people out right here who’d by no means been out right here earlier than.”
Collectively with the LSC group, the Purdue Grasp Gardeners come out typically to Look after the flower beds, and a Boy Scout troop does backyard work.
“It assisted them get their badges for group service,” Pruitt added.
The huge plan is To level out the livestock buildings Right into a posh. Indiana Grand agained this enterprise with A huge donation.
“We acquired The mannequin new flooring Inside the building, that was our first huge expense, and we have A complete lot extra we’re going to do,” Pruitt said. “We might have a couple events pay for The complete time of winter storage.”
The new concrete flooring permits the buildings To deal with events like Marriage ceremonys, which it mightn’t do earlier thanhand.
“We might have a flea market or one factor,” Pruitt said. “We’re making an try to get people To return and do factors.”
Pruitt additionally wants A mannequin new signal On The doorway to the truthful: “That’s The very Very first factor you see Everytime you drive As a lot Since the truthfulgrounds.”
Any money the truthfulgrounds makes goes immediately again into its amenities.
“Whatever we make goes again into this truthfulgrounds, the building, the grounds, no matter, as a Outcome of it belongs to the county,” Pruitt said. “Somefactor we do goes proper again into it. We do it for the love of The sport. It’s nice for me. It’s volunteer.”